Hyundai Kona N: The beginning is a joy

The Kona is a multi-talent. The Korean is available as a combustion engine, 4×4, hybrid and electric car. And for a year now as an N. It was probably one of the last projects by ex-Hyundai development boss Albert Biermann.
Build a sporty SUV, brightly painted, which is a sly old dog. With success, Biermann adapted the technology from the i30 N including a 280 hp two-liter turbo four-cylinder and dual-clutch transmission and faced colleagues like the T-Roc R, Mini Countryman JCW and Cupra Ateca. And sure, the Hyundai got it all, right for breakfast.
Hyundai Kona N

In the normal driving programs, the fat exhaust system can hardly be heard. In the N stages, it then bangs properly. A bit too loud for a long time.

But is it still so funny when you can play around with such a Kona N not only for two weeks but for five months? Will the snotty exhaust storm get on your nerves at some point? Do you ever get a flat butt in the sports seats? Or does the sports suspension cause headaches in the long run?

30,000 kilometers in five months

That’s exactly what we wanted to know and that’s why we asked this boy prodigy to the editorial office. 30,000 kilometers in five months, through wind and weather, let’s go.

What do we expect from such a compact crossover sport SUV? The Kona N should be comfortable on long journeys, agilely follow country road curves when leaving the motorway, be able to transport something, use fuel responsibly and only treat yourself to fresh wiper water and the occasional drop of engine oil.

Hyundai Kona N

In normal mode, the damping is a bit too hard, especially on the rear axle.

So far, this has worked quite well with the Kona N, which is painted in the typical N blue (600 euros). It is sensational in curves, the lock always pulls the load into the ideal line everywhere.

10,000 kilometers positive

He’s fast, travel speed 180, he manages 200 without breaking a sweat. The first 10,000 kilometers, the athlete was mostly positive.

Mostly? Yes, a few little things have already stood out that would not have come to light in our previous performance tests in such a short time.

Hyundai Kona N

With 50 liters and previously nine liters on average, you won’t get very far. Luckily he also tolerates super unleaded.

For example, the standard adaptive chassis. Adaptive means adjustable, at the push of a button, three levels, Normal, Sport and Sport Plus. The two sport levels are really only for the race track, since nothing shakes or moves anymore.

Kona N properly tight

And if normal at Hyundai means comfort, then something went wrong. Because the Kona isn’t really that much softer. Motorway stages are pretty exhausting, with bumps, the rear axle is noticeable with a slight hobbling.

The brakes also quickly become soft when driving quickly – the thing drives easily and sometimes 240 without much start-up. All whining on a high level, we think. The rest fits perfectly so far.

Hyundai Kona N

Grippy valance, many switches and buttons, but the cockpit does not appear overloaded. The mixture of modern touch and rotary controls is successful.

In normal mode, you can roll through everyday life in a relaxed manner, letting the fine and clever automatic gearshift work. Then the exhaust sound can be enjoyed for several hours.

Speaking of which, longer journeys of more than three hours are hardly possible, the tank is simply too small. If you drive calmly, 450 kilometers is the end, if you have to hurry to the airport, the 50-liter tank is already at the end after almost 300 kilometers.

Hyundai with small trunk

Something else on the subject of space: the driver and front passenger sit comfortably and sporty in equal measure. The guests on the back seat, on the other hand, have to make do with less comfort and headroom.

The trunk is also quite small at 361 liters. That’s just enough for our test and photo equipment. Be that as it may, the rear seat is usually folded down, and then a whole lot fits into the small Korean.

Hyundai Kona N

A maximum of 1143 liters of loading volume is good, but not much. Enough for the test equipment and a few bags.

The operation of the car and multimedia station is overloaded at first glance, but intuitive, logical and easy to use at second glance.

In the N-Custom modes, you can save your own set-up and, if necessary, call it up using the blue buttons on the steering wheel. The red button NGS? Stands for N Grin Shift, something like the DRS button in Formula 1. Pressed once, all settings in the vehicle are set to the sportiest level for 20 seconds. Works sensationally, especially on winding country roads.

We’re excited to see what else we learn about this funny N-Buddy. We will report about it here.

Specifications and Price: Hyundai Kona N

• Engine R4, turbo, front cross
• Displacement 1998 cm3
• Perfomance 206 kW (280 hp) at 5500-6000 rpm
• Max. Torque 392 Nm at 2100-4700 rpm
• Drive Front wheel/eight-speed double clutch
• L/W/H 4215/1800/1565mm
• curb weight 1585kg
• trunk 361-1143l
• 0-100km/h 5.5s
• Top 240km/h
• Consumption 8.5L SP/100km
• Exhaust CO2 194 g/km
• Price from 38,900 euros

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